Writing secure software for the business environment

Information security is quickly becoming a top priority across businesses as new technologies pose a risk to data safety and more sophisticated threats are emerging to challenge current measures. With data breaches occurring at top retailers and the Heartbleed bug affecting countless people and websites, it should not be surprising why many organizations are taking it upon themselves to bolster their protection. While this effort is a good first step in securing company assets, many decision-makers are missing a critical element in their initiatives: software. The software that employees leverage on a daily basis should be one of the first points that are addressed to improve safety measures and ensure that workers can effectively use it for their responsibilities.

Although computer-based programs have been known to fall to bugs and other threats, this risk is being directed more toward mobile applications. Many organizations are adopting a bring-your-own-device policy that allows staff members to utilize their personal hardware. This often entails the use of preferred consumer-grade software that does not offer the protection that most businesses require to guard their data. In response to this, many enterprises are writing their own applications for employees, guaranteeing that they will have the functionality they need while still offering IT oversight into how sensitive information is being used. By writing software geared for these needs from the beginning, it will be much easier to deter threats and provide workers with the tools they require.

Considerations for safer software
App creation has never been an easy process, but it has become considerably more complex as advanced threats continue to emerge that challenge software capabilities. It's also worthwhile to note that in the mobile market, no user is safe from the risk of a security breach. While Android is more susceptible to malware, other providers have had their share of flaws in their protection. Forbes noted that when building a mobile app, developers should ask who wrote it, verify that the code has been reviewed, ensure that the program is tested and fix any security gaps that may appear. By addressing each of these elements, app creators can ensure that users have a viable product upon release that doesn't require a mass amount of fixes right away. This will help developers release patches on a more needed basis and allow them to react quickly to any threats that may emerge without warning.

"Once developed, applications bring together multiple different components," the source stated. "Each component may add additional vulnerabilities along with it. It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest releases and security patches for every third-party component that is a part of the app."

Creating secure applications
With any mobile software project, it's integral to build security in from the very beginning, ensuring that a certain level of protection is inherent to the program. Developers can spur this effort by choosing a language that is considered safer from the reach of malware. Whether choosing HTML5, .NET components or another suite of tools, app builders must understand how to secure each of their options. IT World noted that organizations should assume that their code can be read by anyone and should utilize industry-accepted protection measures in their program. By understanding these elements and controlling inputs and outputs, developers can deliver end-to-end security that will help deter data breaches and other risks.

"Weaknesses and vulnerabilities can only be avoided when secure development practices are integrated into all phases of the software life cycle, including (but not limited to) requirements and specification, design and architecture, implementation, build, testing, deployment, operation and maintenance," IT World stated.


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